* Russian, Hungarian stocks lead gains
* MSCI EM stock index set for best day in over 2 weeks
* CEE currencies muted ahead of Eurozone data
By Ambar Warrick
July 2 (Reuters) - Emerging market stocks in Europe, the Middle East and Africa rose on Thursday as investors bet on a potential coronavirus vaccine, while currencies remained subdued ahead of key U.S. economic data.
The MSCI's index of developing world equities .MSCIEF added 1.8% and was set for its biggest daily gain in more than two weeks, as encouraging results from early-stage human trials of a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) PFE.N and Germany's BioNTech BNTX.O helped risk appetite.
Most EMEA currencies were muted, indicating that caution was still at the forefront, especially ahead of U.S. payroll data later in the day.
"Even though market participants seemed a little less risk-averse in view of the positive PMIs yesterday, they were not exactly euphoric," Thu Lan Nguyen, FX & EM Analyst at Commerzbank (DE: CBKG ), wrote in a note.
"First of all, the market has already largely priced in an economic recovery, and secondly, the survey-based economic indicators have to be taken with a pinch of salt."
South Africa's rand ZAR= firmed against the U.S. dollar as markets awaited current account data from the country.
Central European currencies such as the Hungarian forint EURHUF= and the Polish zloty EURPLN= weakened against the euro, which was a touch firmer ahead of eurozone inflation and unemployment data.
Russia's rouble RUB= took some support from stronger oil prices. Stocks in the country also rose after a holiday, after Russians voted in favour of changes that would allow President Vladimir Putin to remain in the Kremlin until 2036. stocks .XU100 rose, while the lira TRY= edged lower after data showed the country's trade deficit narrowing in June, indicating that economic activity was slowly recovering from the coronavirus. GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance in 2020, see http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance in 2020, see https://tmsnrt.rs/2OusNdX
For TOP NEWS across emerging markets CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see CEE/
For TURKISH market report, see .IS
For RUSSIAN market report, see RU/RUB
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